NEW YORK – Salt Lake City-based Known Medicine on Wednesday said it has closed a $7.2 million seed funding round, which it will use to advance its 3D organoid modeling technology to support precision oncology efforts.
The seed funding round was led by Caffeinated Capital. Other investors contributing funds included Khosla Ventures, Cota Capital, Kickstart, Forward VC, and OATV, as well as angel investors Chris Gibson, Recursion Pharmaceuticals' CEO and cofounder, and Nish Bhat, co-founder and former chief technology officer of Color, among others.
Known Medicine predicts how well a patient's tumor will respond to a particular therapy using its Oncology Diagnostics Inference Network platform, which comprises proprietary organoid models, called M3DUSA Models, and a customizable image analysis pipeline, called IRIS Analysis. According to the company, its M3DUSA three-dimensional organoid models recreate the tumor microenvironment, including cancer, stromal, and immune cells.
The firm then leverages omics-level datasets and machine learning to analyze detailed images of the organoids and explore how these cells are responding to different treatments and the biological mechanisms underlying their behavior.
Varun Gupta, partner at Caffeinated Capital, estimated that around 1.9 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021, and biomarkers identified via genetic testing will help personalize treatments for less than 10 percent of them. "Known Medicine is transforming the way oncologists match patients to the right treatments by rapidly and accurately finding the best treatment for specific tumors," Gupta said in a statement. "In less than a year, the company has already begun to demonstrate the efficacy and scalability of their technology platform for both clinical and biopharmaceutical use cases."
The company expects its services will be useful not only to clinicians looking for the best treatments for their patients, but also to pharmaceutical companies interested in identifying new precision oncology drug development opportunities. "Our core technology and data-first approach will provide critical technical, biological and clinical insights to drug developers and prescribers across the continuum from bench to bedside," Katie-Rose Skelly, Known Medicine cofounder and chief technology officer, added in a statement.